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USC School of Medicine Greenville expands addiction treatment program

Staff Report //July 29, 2020//

USC School of Medicine Greenville expands addiction treatment program

Staff Report //July 29, 2020//

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Students in the USC program serve Nicholtown residents. (Photo/Provided)An idea born in a lunch-and-learn session has led to a substance use disorder treatment curriculum at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.

Faces and Voices of Recovery Greenville and the medical school are partnering with the online educational platform Youturn and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to add elective coursework for medical students in Greenville.

After Favor Greenville made a presentation at the medical school several years ago, a student suggested to Dr. Lauren Demosthenes, an associate professor and an obstetrician/gynecologist with Prisma Health-Upstate, that addiction treatment would be a good addition to the curriculum, according to a news release.

Later that year, Demosthenes taught substance use disorder treatment to 10 students and the elective class went so well, she partnered with Favor Greenville to offer hands-on experience with recovery coaching, the news release said. The class became integrated into a four-year curriculum.

This summer’s substance-use disorder and recovery course is led by Demosthenes and Rich Jones, CEO and COO of Favor Greenville and chief strategy officer for Youturn, which Jones co-founded to help people with addiction and those in their support system, according to the release.

“We are extremely proud to be on the cutting edge of education pertaining to substance use disorder and feel it is crucial for our medical students to be knowledgeable and well equipped to care for individuals affected by this struggle,” Demosthenes said in the release. “Regardless of what field our students are going into, this topic translates into each and every specialty in the medical profession.”

Rich Jones leads class of medical students. (Photo/Provided)Thirty students signed up for the summer course, which has become even more crucial, according to the release, following a 39% increase in opioid overdoses across the state since last year.

“We know that we are losing the battle against substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health issues,” Jones said in the release. “We know that the fragmented, acute care treatment model has serious limitations. Seeing these future physicians embrace recovery principles lifts our spirits because it indicates a pathway out of this addiction crisis. It is clear that these medical students have compassion and empathy for individuals struggling with substance use disorders. I believe that the full integration of SUD treatment and recovery into health care settings is our best shot at improving outcomes and saving lives.”

Jones teaches course modules featuring the perspectives and stories of patients who struggle with addiction. On a day-to-day basis, Jones works to help people move from addiction to recovery through Favor while also managing Youturn.